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The International Monetary System: Living with Asymmetry

  • Maurice Obstfeld

This paper analyzes current stresses in the two key areas that concerned the architects of the original Bretton Woods system: international liquidity and exchange rate management. Despite radical changes since World War II in the market context for liquidity and exchange rate concerns, they remain central to discussions of international macroeconomic policy coordination. To take two prominent examples of specific (and related) coordination problems, liquidity issues are paramount in strategies of national self-insurance through foreign reserve accumulation, while recent attempts by emerging market economies (EMEs) to limit real currency appreciation have relied heavily on nominal exchange rate management. A central message is that a diverse set of potential asymmetries among sovereign member states provides fertile ground for a variety of coordination failures. The paper goes on to discuss institutions and policies that might mitigate some of these inefficiencies.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17641.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17641.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as The International Monetary System: Living with Asymmetry , Maurice Obstfeld. in Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century , Feenstra and Taylor. 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17641
Note: EFG IFM
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  1. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2002. "Fear of floating," MPRA Paper 14000, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat, 2011. "Global imbalances and the financial crisis: Link or no link?," BIS Working Papers 346, Bank for International Settlements.
  3. Stephen G. Hall & George S. Tavlas, 2013. "The Debate About The Revived Bretton-Woods Regime: A Survey And Extension Of The Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 340-363, 04.
  4. James M Boughton, 2011. "Jacques J. Polak and the Evolution of the International Monetary System," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 59(2), pages 379-399, June.
  5. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear Of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408, May.
  6. C. Randall Henning, 1994. "Currencies and Politics in the United States, Germany, and Japan," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 15, May.
  7. Murray C. Kemp, 1962. "Foreign Investment And The National Advantage," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 38(81), pages 56-62, 03.
  8. Aaron Brown, 2011. "Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System, by Barry Eichengreen," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(6), pages 825-826.
  9. Edwin M. Truman, 2008. "On What Terms Is the IMF Worth Funding?," Working Paper Series WP08-11, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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